Guidelines For Air Velocities

The height, length and resulting air velocities greatly figure in everything in determining the size and performance of a coil. Step # 1 in determining the size and performance of a coil is dependent upon understanding face & air velocities of air across the coil. Whether you use CCA’s coil selection program to help size the coil, or you are replacing an existing coil; the height, length and resulting velocity determine everything.

Hot Water Booster Coils

Air Velocities

Every coil has a specific, optimum velocity, so you want to make sure you are within 30% (+ or -) of that number. For example, booster coils have an optimum velocity of 800 ft/minute. That means that you can drop your velocity to 600 ft/minute, or conversely, increase the velocity to 1,000 ft/minute. The duct velocities are almost always higher, which means that you will need to transition to a larger coil. Try to get to as close to 800 ft/minute as possible, while sizing your coil to make the transition as easy as possible. Everything with coils is a balancing act.

Hot Water & Steam Coils

Like booster coils, hot water and steam coils should also have face velocities at approximately 800 ft/minute. Both steam & hot water coils have only sensible heating, which is why their face velocities can be the same. Face velocities ultimately control the coil’s cost, so 800 ft/minute really is a heating coil’s “sweet spot”.

If you are purchasing an air handler unit, oftentimes the heating coil is smaller than the cooling coil because the face velocities on heating coils can exceed those of cooling coils. Due to water carry-over, cooling coils cannot exceed 550 ft/minute, while heating coils only deal with sensible heat.

Chilled Water & DX Coils

Due to the limited face velocities of cooling coils, your choices are more limited. With cooling coils, your face velocity must be somewhere between 500 ft/minute-550 ft/minute. Remember that when dealing with cooling coils, you are dealing with both sensible and latent cooling, so the coil is wet. When you exceed 550 ft/minute, water carry-over occurs past the drain pans.

If you are purchasing an air handler unit, you probably will not have worry about the coil’s face velocity as most coils come pre-sized at the acceptable face velocities. Fan coils also come pre-sized with the correct CFM’s. However, if you are replacing an existing cooling coil, the face velocity must remain at or below 550 ft/minute!!

 Air Stratification Across The Coil

Air does not travel equally across the face of a coil. If you were to divide a coil into (9) equal sections, like a tic-tac-toe board, you would see a high percentage of air travelling through the center square, rather than the corner squares. In a perfect air flow scheme, 11% of the air would travel through each of the 9 squares, but that is not what happens. Because more air travels through the center of the coil, you want to avoid putting a fan too near the coil. Due to central air flows, most systems are draw-thru, rather than blow-thru. This is also why you want to avoid installing your coil near any 90 degree angles/turns in the ductwork. Avoid any situations that contribute more than the “natural” air stratification to help ensure your coil is at maximum efficiency.

In some situations involving cooling coils, you will have water carry-over even when the coil is sized correctly. How can this happen? Think about the tic-tac-toe board again. Air velocities are exceeding 700 ft/minute in the coil’s center, while the corners are around 300 ft/minute. This cannot and will not work.

Coils do not have any moving parts. They simply react to the air across the outside of the coil and whatever is running through the inside of the coil. Coils are 100% a function of your entire system, as well as the installation in general.

Capital Coil & Air is here to help with any coil selections that will help avoid costly missteps that lead to wasted time and money. Call us on your next project, we greatly look forward to working with you!

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How Did The HVAC Commercial Coil Replacement Market Originate???

How in the world did the commercial coil replacement market start? This specific newsletter is more of a story than anything technical that we have covered in most of our previous emails or blogs. Rather, this is the story of how one manufacturer’s representative, Robert Jacobs, almost by accident, stumbled upon the concept of the coil replacement market back at a time when the only way one could get a replacement coil was to go through the original equipment manufacturer – (OEM). In full disclosure, Bob Jacobs is the VP of Business Development with Capital Coil & Air.

Way back in the day – (1970’s) – HVAC coils were not stand-alone pieces of equipment as they are considered by some now. Coils were nothing more than a single part in an Air Handling Unit (AHU) or a bank of coils. Like a bearing, a drive, or fan wheel, coils were simply part #’s that one needed to reference with the OEM in order to get a replacement built. This situation was a very good deal for the OEM’s because much like car parts, they could charge upwards of 3x’s the original cost of the coil or “part”. And, it was built according to their schedule/timeline, not yours’.

In the 1970’s, Bob Jacobs was a manufacturer’s rep in the Philadelphia-area, and his main line of equipment was Bohn Aluminum & Brass. Bohn was a division of Gulf & Western and competed against many of the top manufacturers, such as Trane & Carrier. For comparison-sake, Bohn was very similar to what Dunham-Bush is today.Commercial Coil Replacement

During this period, Bob Jacobs was asked by numerous local contractors to replace old and/or broken coils. Due to the lack of a quality alternative, he initially used Bohn for coil replacement projects, but replacing coils was not exactly Bohn’s “sweet spot”. It should be mentioned that during this period, replacement coils were not really on any manufacturer’s radar as a separate product – hence the point of this story. Regardless of the OEM, standard lead-times were upwards of (12) – (14) weeks, and those “replacement parts” were very expensive. It was during this period that he realized that there was serious potential for some kind of HVAC coil replacement market. To test this theory, he initially spent $75.00 on an ad deep within the classified section of “Air Conditioning & Refrigeration News”. It was the old type where one had to “circle the bingo card” to request additional information, and this single ad received over 525 inquiries from across the country!! This eye-opening initial response to his idea made him realize that he had come across something good, but now the challenge was how to satisfy this new market. Bob Jacobs initially contacted Bohn to see if there was any interest in building replacement coils, as well as marketing the idea across the United States. Bohn essentially laughed at the idea and countered that he’d be violating his sales rep agreement by going into the territories of other reps. This was very flawed reasoning as none of the other reps were engineering or selling replacement coils in the first place! Within a week, he had canceled his agreement with Bohn and was looking for alternative vendors. He also decided to run a second ad that received another 450 inquiries; furthering his idea of the need for a coil replacement market.

The next step was to reach out to Singer Coils (yes, like the sewing machine), who was located in North Carolina. Because they had built coils for other manufacturers, he pitched his idea to them along with the request that they build his special or “custom” coils. While initially skeptical of the concept, the doubters were proved wrong as his firm gave Singer over $3,500,000 in business in that first year alone. Admittedly, that $ amount in the first year in a brand new market is impressive whether it’s 1971 or 2021!!

One must also remember that these were the days before fax machines and most certainly before email and the internet. Quote requests for coils were received via USPS and were hand-drawn sketches written on things, such as legal pads, envelopes and pretty much every way imaginable compared with today. Because everything was starting from scratch at this time, there were no coil model libraries or other materials to cross-reference, so going through a random building trying to locate the correct coil to replace could be torturous. However, over the next 6-8 years, his business grew quite rapidly, and he was able to collect and build a substantial reference library of coil drawings and other relevant information. The experiences of the prior 8 years, coupled with his firm’s knowledge of commercial coils, eventually allowed his company to begin building their own replacement coils for the 1st time, rather than relying on a 3rd party manufacturer.

Bob Jacobs’ original coil replacement company developed relationships with literally thousands of customers and laid out the initial blueprint for success in the coil replacement business. Due to that success, you now have approximately (10) alternatives that have attempted to copy his model as it’s become obvious that this is a lucrative market. Even OEM’s have recognized that they need to have a piece of the replacement market. But an important point to remember is that just because a company says or even advertises that they are in the coil replacement business does not mean that they are any good or even fully understand how the replacement market operates. For example, most coil manufacturers today are still more interested in the production of larger quantities, so replacement coils are “special” to them. In other words, sometimes these manufacturers want to be in the coil replacement business, and other times, without telling you, they do not. And not knowing where a company’s focus or priorities lie makes it extremely difficult to work with them under emergency conditions.

Bob Jacobs was there at the beginning and is still quite active within Capital Coil. Having daily access to a resource that literally invented the coil replacement market is what separates Capital Coil from all other competitors. Capital Coil will continue to be your coil replacement experts, and we greatly look forward to the chance to work with you on future projects.

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Tips on Hand Designation & “Counter-flow”

Are your chilled water coils right hand or left hand?  Are you looking into the face of the coil with the air hitting you in the back of the head?  What exactly is counter-flow and why is it important?  Are you completely confused by why right hand vs. left hand even exists?  Most manufacturers probably do not know or understand the technical reasons themselves.

First, let’s figure out what coils even need a hand determination.  Chilled Water Coils, Direct Expansion (Evaporator) Coils, and Condenser Coils are the only coils that need this figured on almost every job.  Hot Water Coils, Booster Coils, and Steam Coils rarely need this determination!  The reason for this is when the coils are only 1 or 2 rows deep, they can be flipped over.  When a chilled water coil is 3+ rows deep, hand determination is much more important because it needs to be counter-flow.  With most suppliers determining hand designation with the air hitting you in the back of the head….do you want the connections on the right or left?

Chilled Water CoilsYou’ve probably heard the term “counter-flow” countless times, but here’s the simplest explanation.  For peak performance, you want the air and the fluid traveling in opposite directions through the coil.  Is it the end of the world if your coils are not counter-flow?  The short answer is no, but you will lose anywhere from 12-15% of the output.  So if your coils are piped incorrectly, don’t expect to get the full performance.  Steam and hot water coils are 1 or 2 rows deep, so again, counter-flow is pretty much irrelevant.  However, it can make a BIG difference with any chilled water or direct expansion coils (3-12) rows deep.

We also get asked many times “what is the proper way to pipe coils?”  Put simply, steam coils should always be fed on the highest connection and the return on the lowest connection.  Water coils should always be fed on the lowest connection and returned on the top connection to ensure that all of the tubes are are fed the same volume of fluid. 

Hand designation and counter-flow are two pretty simple concepts when they are properly explained.  When dealing with a HVAC coil manufacturer, partner up with one who will walk you through the engineering and explain it along the way.  Capital Coil & Air has well over a decade of experience in handling pretty much any scenario that you may come across, so we want to be your coil resource for any and all projects. Please give us a try on your next job!

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Top 5 Reasons Commercial HVAC Coils Prematurely Fail

Capital Coil & Air has come across virtually every scenario over the years in which a commercial HVAC coil had to be prematurely replaced, and we have since created an easy guide targeting the main reasons HVAC Coils prematurely fail.

  • Coil Plugging: If you are not changing filters and/or your commercial HVAC coils are not properly cleaned in a timely manner, your coil will actually begin to act as a filter. When dirt builds up on the coil, that blockage prevents heat transfer and can cause an approximate 20% to 40% drop in performance. Dirt adds to the coil resistance and can be a primary cause for your coil to fail prematurely.
  • Vibration: When your HVAC coils are installed near a moving piece of equipment, vibration can occur and cause leaks. You can tell if vibration is the main cause if leaks are near the tube sheet and look like they are slicing through the tube. If/when that happens, the coils should be isolated from the rest of the system to prevent vibration from causing damage. One way to combat this is by oversizing the tubesheet holes, but many manufacturers will not do this. Condenser Coils are usually the most common victims of vibration.
  • Corrosive Environment: This applies to both the air in the environment and inside the tubes. For instance, if there is a corrosive element in the air, it will eat away at the copper tubes; whether you have 0.020” wall or 0.049” wall. This is very common in coastal areas where there may be salt in the air. To keep the costs down from going to a stainless steel or cupro-nickel coil, we usually suggest coating the HVAC coils. Coatings are almost always within your budget, and its application will only add about a week to the overall lead time. Steam condensate and untreated water can cause corrosion within the tubes of HVAC coils as well. If you have a steam coil that has failed before the one year warranty, there’s a great chance that corrosive agents are in the steam, and it’s eating away at the copper tubes.
  • Freeze-Ups: Most people think that when HVAC coils freeze, the water or condensate laying in the coil freezes into ice and it expands causing the tubes to bulge and eventually spring leaks. What really happens is that the coil will freeze in multiple areas simultaneously, and it’s the pressure between these areas that cause the tubes to swell and eventually burst. These are very easy to spot as the leaks will run the length of the tube rather than around the tube.  ALSO be very careful when considering “freeze-proof” coils!  If you remove 5-6 inches from the fin length to make the “freeze-proof” application fit, your coil’s performance will suffer considerably. 
  • System Design: You would be amazed to learn how many HVAC coils were never designed properly for their systems. If there is a design problem, replacing the coil will only waste time and money; while you have done nothing other than duplicate the previous problem. A little known fact in the replacement market is that a high percentage of all our projects are because the coils were built incorrectly or were never designed correctly in the first place. In some cases, owners attempt to improve the coil’s performance by adding additional rows. Most however do this without taking into account the air pressure drop or fluid pressure drop that comes with it.

When dealing with an HVAC coil manufacturer, try to partner up with one who will walk you through the engineering and explain it along the way. Capital Coil & Air has well over a decade of experience and can help you diagnose whatever problem that you are experiencing correctly the first time. We look forward to working with you on your next project!

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Coils and Counter-flow: 5 Common Questions

1)  Coils and counter-flow?

The first thing to remember about coils and counter-flow is that chilled water coils are always built to be piped in counter-flow. This means that the air flows in the opposite direction as the water. For example, with counter-flow, the air flows through rows 1-8, while the water runs through rows 8-1. Water always travels through the coil in the opposite direction of the air; hence the term “counter-flow.”  Direct Expansion Coils (Evaporator Coils) are also piped in the same manner.

With that said, what happens when you do not pipe cooling coils counter-flow? Almost all coil selection programs you will see or use will be based on counter-flow conditions. If you opt to not counter-flow a chilled water coil, you’ll have to reduce the coil’s overall performance by a certain percentage. That percentage reduction varies based on each coil’s unique dimensions, but a reliable estimate is a loss of 8-12%. Simply piping the coils in the correct manner from the beginning would seem to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution.

2)  Why do you feed from the bottom of the coil?

Chilled Water Coils

You always want to feed a water coil from the bottom connection so that the header fills from the bottom on up and feeds every tube connection evenly. All tubes must be fed evenly with the same amount of water. If you try to feed the header from the top, you greatly increase the risk of “short circuiting” the coil and having a higher water flow through the top tubes in the coil.

3)  What is a Water Hammer in a Steam Coil?

On a long Steam Coil, you will be hard pressed to get the steam through the length of the coil. Slowly but surely, that steam converts into condensate, which is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to any system. If not evacuated, the condensate just lays in the coil when the system is shut off. This problem comes into play when the steam is turned back on and meets the condensate laying inside the coil. In addition to the noise, the steam and condensate cause huge amounts of additional stress on the coil’s joints. As a result, over time, your coil will inevitably fail.

4)  What else happens if you do not evacuate condensate?

When you cannot or do not evacuate the condensate on long steam coils, the condensate ends up blocking the steam. A steam coil should never feel cool to the touch, but when condensate blocks steam, one part of the coil will be warm while the other will be cool. Again, that should not happen. Steam coils are interesting in that they are more dependent upon the system and installation than any other type of coil. A steam coil must be pitched to the return end of the coil. Obviously, steam is not water. Traps, vacuum breakers and other steam accessories must be installed and located properly for the system to function.

5)  Is it necessary to pipe steam and/or hot water coils in counter-flow?

Simply put – no! Circuiting a coil is only necessary to ensure the connections are on the side of the coil that you want. The rows and tubes in the coil dictate how and where you feed, but the steam supply always needs to be the high connection. This method ensures that the leaving condensate is on the bottom of the coil and below the lowest tube within the coil. Whatever else you do, know that the condensate must leave the coil!

If you have any questions or need assistance with ordering and/or installation, please contact a sales engineer at Capital Coil & Air. We will walk with you step-by-step through your entire project should you require any assistance. CALL OR E-MAIL US!  We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on your future projects.

 

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Steam Distributing (Non-Freeze) Coils: The Accidental Coils

Steam Distributing CoilsWere you aware that Steam Distributing coils or “Non-Freeze” steam coils were essentially discovered by accident? First, it must be mentioned that there is no such thing as a 100% “Non-Freeze” steam coil because under the right conditions, any coil can freeze. As such, Capital Coil tries to steer clear of the term “Non-Freeze” because it is a mischaracterization. Steam Distributing Coils is the correct terminology that Capital Coil uses when speaking about steam coils that see entering air temperatures under 32* F. Trapped condensate in the tubes and/or headers, coupled with entering air temperatures below 32*F over the face of the coil, creates a situation with a near-100% certainty that your steam coil will freeze. Because of this, there is no magical solution to fully eliminate freezing your coil, which again is why Capital Coil does not use the term “Non-Freeze”.

Steam turns to condensate little by little as it travels through the coil. Lower pressure steam turns to condensate faster than higher pressure steam!! The longer the tube length in the coil, the earlier the condensate is formed, and the longer it has to travel through the tubes. One very important fact to always remember is that too much condensate in a steam coil IS NEVER A GOOD THING…under any circumstances! Because of this requirement, everything is designed to ensure the removal of all condensate from the coil. Systems are heavily designed with float & thermostatic traps, vacuum breakers, and placement of piping to help get rid of any remaining condensate.

Another headache that occurs when condensate freezes is that it creates a “water-hammer”. A “water-hammer” can best be described as a loud banging noise as the steam is coming into contact with the condensate in the coil. It does not allow the steam to be evenly distributed across the face of the coil…again not a good thing!

At the inception of the HVAC industry, steam coils were originally designed to be shorter in length because there was not a good way to evacuate condensate. In an effort to make steam coils longer in length, the concept of a steam coil containing a tube within a tube was invented. The steam feeds only the inner tubes, which travels the entire of the length of the outer-tube. Holes are placed every 12” with the inner tube releasing condensate to the outer-tube. The idea is that the condensate is slowly and evenly “distributed” across the entire length of the coil. Heating is also evenly applied across the coil’s face, and if the casing is pitched at a downward angle, condensate cannot remain trapped. It was later discovered as an added bonus that under most circumstances these coils will not freeze. So while the concept was never designed or intended to become known as “Non-Freeze”, they are now used in almost all projects dealing with air temperatures below 32*F. Please keep in mind that you will still need all of the other steam protective devices in the system, including the freeze-stat, but all in all, it is much more difficult to freeze coils today than it was 30-40 years ago. Necessity may be “the mother of invention” but this great concept was discovered accidently.

Capital Coil is available for all of your coil-related trivia needs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out whenever we can be of assistance.

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Condenser Coils Failing? Here’s probably why….

Did you recently turn on your DX systems only to find your Condenser Coils are not working?  Simple fix right?  Unfortunately, no.  If you get lucky, you can send us the model number of the unit, and there’s a great chance we’ve already built it.  In the case that we do not have that model number on file, you have two options.  You can go back to Carrier and wait two months for an OEM part while paying through the roof.  Or you call Capital Coil, and we’ll walk you through the engineering it takes to replace a condenser coil.                                                                      Condenser Coil

Very rarely do condenser coils ever freeze so the first thing you’re going to want to know is if your coil died of corrosion, old age, or possibly vibration.  Old age is obviously preferable because with a few easy dimensions, we’ll have enough to price up your duplicate coil.  Condenser coils are usually outside and are easily accessible for measurements and digital pictures.  With just the size, the rows, and fins/inch, you can get a price.  And digital pictures of the headers and return bends will give us a good idea of the circuiting and sub-cooler circuits. 

If the coil has been eaten away by corrosion, it was an improper design to begin with.  Most people don’t know that salt in the air will ruin aluminum fins within a year or two.  There are two ways to combat this.  The first option is to make the switch to copper fins and stainless steel casings.  While this will extend the life of your coil considerably, most people are not too happy about the additional cost over aluminum fins.  The second option is to use a coating.  Coatings are the much more popular choice.  They are a fraction of the cost as copper fins and only add one week to your lead time. 

When your HVAC coils are installed near a moving piece of equipment, vibration can occur and cause leaks.  The area where these leaks occur is very important and will clue you in to if the problem is vibration.  If they are near the tube sheet and look like they are slicing through the tube, the coils should be isolated from the rest of the system to prevent vibration from causing damage.  One way to combat this is by oversizing the tubesheet holes, but many manufacturers will not do this.  Condenser coils are usually the most common victims of vibration.

The last concern is with cleaning condenser coils.  Since condenser coils see outside air almost exclusively, they need to be cleaned more than other coils.  The reason for this is most condenser coils have fin spacing of 12-20 fins/inch.  With fins that tight together, the coil can and will act like a filter.  And when the coil is clogged up, the performance suffers greatly.  Recently, we’ve been getting more and more calls about using a heavier fin thickness.  This is to help with high pressure cleaning and corrosive cleaning agents. 

When dealing with an HVAC coil manufacturer, partner up with one who will walk you through the engineering and explain it along the way. Capital Coil & Air has well over a decade of experience and has seen every issue to make sure your everything from the quote to the installation go smoothly! Give us a try on your next project!

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In (3) days, Capital Coil & Air Manufactured and Delivered (4) Large Condenser Coils!!

A large HVAC contractor in South Florida recently contacted Capital Coil & Air with a request to modify an existing system of Carrier 38 Series Microchannel Coils with (4) large condenser coils on an emergency basis. The main goal was to change over from microchannel to standard copper tube/aluminum fin condenser coils. The one expressed requirement for this project was that this change needed to happen very quickly. See below for a summary and timeline of the project:

Condenser Coils
  1. Monday – The contractor reached out to Capital Coil & Air with the required information needed for new condenser coils.
  2. Tuesday – Capital Coil calculated the changeover from microchannel to standard coils for this retrofit. Capital Coil & Air then provided all of the necessary engineering and pricing data for the order. Included were all of the condenser coil drawings, ready for the customer’s approval, as well as all of the needed IOM’s (Installation, Operation & Maintenance Manual) for eventual installation.
  3. Wednesday – By Wednesday morning, the contractor approved the drawings and allowed the project to move forward. Construction on the coils began that afternoon. In less than 1.5 days, this job went from a brief phone discussion into full production!
  4. Friday – The coils were completed, crated and made ready to ship in less than 48 hours after production commenced. Capital Coil then contacted FedEx to ensure that the coils would be picked up that same Friday and overnighted to South Florida for Saturday delivery to the jobsite.
  5. Saturday – The contractor received the condenser coils and installation was completed that same weekend!

In all, the time from the original phone call to installation occurred in less than a week. Capital Coil takes great pride in our response times, as well as our ability to handle projects in emergency situations.

For various reasons, the HVAC industry has always required quick-shipments. Capital Coil’s 99% success rate with quick-shipments over the last 5+ years has us particularly well-suited to handle whatever situations may occur during the Covid-19 emergency. Please do not take any chances with “untested” manufacturers right now, and please consider Capital Coil for all of your quick-ship needs!!

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Different Types of Steam Coils?

There are two types of steam coils:  standard steam coils, which are used in most reheat applications, and steam distributing coils, which are used in applications where the entering air temperature is below 40 F degrees.  Many times, this type of coil is also known as a “non-freeze” coil, but that name is misleading because in reality, there is no such thing as “non-freeze”. 

Standard Steam

Standard steam coils operate a lot like hot water coils, but the construction is very different even if the coils appear to be constructed the same.  The supply and return connections are often on the same end like a hot water coil.  But, steam is very different than hot water, and the coil must be built for and circuited for steam.  Keep in mind that steam is always more erosive than hot water.  The brazing and tube wall thickness must account for steam. ALWAYS remember that even low pressure steam is more erosive than hot water, and a steam coil needs to be built accordingly.

Steam Distributing (Non-Freeze)

Steam distributing coils are a completely different type of coil because they are constructed as a tube within a tube. Every place that you see an outside tube or header, there is an inside tube and header that you can’t see. The steam on the inner tube keeps the condensate in the outer tube from freezing.  The purpose of the Steam Coiloriginal coil design was to distribute the steam evenly along the length of the coil and to eliminate any dead spots on the coil.  A byproduct of this coil was also found.  The coils didn’t freeze nearly as easily as the standard steam coil, so the coils became known as “non-freeze”, which as mentioned, is not completely accurate.  Any coil can freeze under the right conditions, but, this design is what needs to be used when the entering air is under 40F degrees!!! 

Steam Coil Design

Steam coil designs can be very tricky.  Steam coils are totally a function of the system and installation, while other coils operate more independently of the system.  There needs to be correctly designed traps, and they need to be installed in the correct place and depth in the system.  Often, vacuum breakers are also needed in the system.  The piping must also be installed correctly to make sure the steam is entering the coil and not the condensate.  Even with all of those factors, you’ll need a correctly designed steam coil that matches the steam pressure, length of the coil, and the entering air temperature.  Coils can freeze easily.  Coils can be too long in length and the steam cannot travel the length of the coil and distribute evenly.  Condensate can easily be trapped somewhere in the coil, and the result is water hammer. 

Capital Coil & Air has years of experience designing steam coils, and is here to answer any questions and help to design the right coil for your project! 

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How to make your HVAC OEM Replacement Coil Buying Process Easier??

Roughly 100% of HVAC OEM replacement coil shipments use some kind of trucking company or common carrier. There are occasions when the shipment is small enough to use UPS or FedEx, but the vast majority of HVAC shipments are sent by way of truck. Anyone who has frequently used freight companies has experienced damaged shipments and/or late arrivals. In our industry, these annoyances and inconveniences are typically written off as “the cost of doing business”. Think of the airline industry as an example. Our expectations have been reduced to point where we expect something to go wrong and are pleasantly surprised when the trip is smooth from start to finish.

Many folks might not know this, but even before the pandemic struck, the trucking industry in general had been experiencing a gross shortage of drivers throughout the country. Some estimates have put this shortage of drivers as high as 50,000 throughout the country.

So what does this shortage mean for the HVAC industry? Put simply, it translates into complications and confusion for all involved.

  • Longer delivery times. For example, a delivery that used to take (3) days is now (5-7).
  • One major reason for the longer delivery times is that trucks now have many more stops than in years past. There are also many instances of more trips through connecting terminals as well.
  • More time on the truck usually equates to both “visible” and “hidden” freight damage.
  • The shipments become harder to track, and with fewer people at the trucking companies doing more work, shipments can and will get lost entirely.

Because the freight process is at the very end of the OEM replacement coil buying cycle, Capital Coil & Air has developed some simple strategies for the entire buying process that should help in avoiding many of the annoyances listed above. We’ve also added a very useful “hint” to counter longer freight delivery times.

  • Getting a price, delivery & accurate proposal from your vendor: Capital Coil responds to every quote request quicker than any of our competitors, and we are always willing to put that claim to the test. A (2) day delay in receiving your quote is the same as a (2) day freight delay on the back end.
  • Receiving your submittal drawings in a timely fashion: You need to approve these drawings, so once again, how is a (2) day delay in receiving approval drawings any different than receiving your order (2) days late?
  • Quick-Ships: As you’ve probably experienced numerous times in the past and/or present, other coil manufacturers seem to be consistently shutting down their quick-ship programs with little to zero notice for the customer. Why is this? Many manufacturers take on a glut of OEM replacement coil business, or other large projects with small profit margins. In many cases they do this simply to keep the factory running during the slower periods of the year. This has the effect of delaying standard lead times, and in many cases, cancelling quick-ships altogether. It is very hard to do business with companies that make themselves unavailable when you need them the most.

Capital Coil NEVER shuts down our quick-ship programs, and we emphasize NEVER! Over the last (2) years, CCA has hit approximately 99% of all quick-ship orders.

  • Crating equipment to minimize freight damage.OEM Replacement Coil
  • Shipping on time: Simply put, we consistently ship when we say we’re going to ship.
  • Select a freight carrier that delivers to your area without interlining or stopping at several terminals: This is when freight damage is most likely to occur!
  • Pay the carrier fee for a guaranteed delivery date: Although seemingly not well-known, most carriers offer a guaranteed delivery date for a fee of $50-$100. Paying the fee will ensure that your order is now a “priority”, and most freight companies schedule deliveries based on these “priorities” first. If both your order and delivery are critical and time-sensitive, Capital Coil can help you with exploring these delivery options.

Capital Coil & Air will work with you throughout the entire buying and shipping process because you as the customer, deserve to work with a hands on manufacturer that will not turn its back on you once the order has been placed. Please give Capital Coil a try on your next project!

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